The way forward as I see it Part-2

The way forward

as I see it Part-2

S.N. Dhar

To read Part-1 please click here

I discussed some of the generalities in my previous article and the response was encouraging though somewhat less participative. It is understandable because generalities can at best be described as part of an arm-chair suggestions and may not have much of an effect in to-days rough and tumble of a fast changing world. But as I said some overall consensus is necessary to implement our agenda and a broad frame work has to be worked out. And that was the idea of the first one. This second part is basically the blue print of an action plan which can be enlarged and modified from time to time depending upon the circumstances and the environment.

1 Mr MK Kaw’s suggestion that everybody should vote is not only timely but vital. He was a little apologetic, but I would be aggressive in this. In todays world while physical presence is important to assert a right , mere possession of even a small piece of paper can be of great importance. I hardly need to enumerate the great advantages that can accrue from this in the short term and certainly also in the long term.

2 Those of us who cannot vote or are not so inclined must at least try to collect their voter identity slips. Again that means possessing a document. And again I hardly need to stress the importance of such a possession.

3 We have migrated enmass or nearly so—this was a temporary migration which at present has become quasi-permanent and in future may be reversed. Who knows when and how. But we all must have our state subject certificates – that piece of paper may be the only proof of our belonging to the valley of Kashmir and should be valid always. Today it is possible to get them but tomorrow it may be difficult. Even the receipt for such an application may be an important possession. I am sure the importance of this document is realized both for the individual as well as the community as a whole.

4 One of the most important issue with our community was and is the proper control of our religious assets. At best of times it was an unsatisfactory arrangement and at its worst it was an unmitigated disaster for the community--- vandalization of these properties by our own people and also the ubiquitus Dharmarth trust is legend and known to everybody. Now a bill is coming in the assembly for the control of these assets by a trust/board in the same way as Vaishno Devi shrine trust. How could we as ordinary people chip in ?

We can pressurize the government to pass the bill in the assembly at the earliest. The bill is ready and it only needs to be passed. For this leadership of various outfits can write individual and collective memoranda and present these to various concerned people.

I know for certain that the bill will be passed. But simultaneously with that our blue print for a proper management has to be ready—a consensus document please !! A proper team can go into the knitty gritty of the management issue and devise ways and means so that everybody feels a kind of ownership. It will be a great disappointment for the biradari if there is a scramble for power and ownership at that time. I may also add here that some others whom we may not consider as deserving to be on the management boards etc. will also claim their stakes and that should be resolved beforehand .It will be a big task and I hope our people will take it with the seriousness that it deserves. Personally I feel the task can be achieved only by a professional team who would go into all the facets of the problem right from its beginning. Such a team should be broadbased to the extent that most people are represented [geographically]. I hardly need to stress that those people who are already in the valley should be involved in the day to day management in a big way.

We should voluntarily agree to dissolve all mandir committees and trusts. In case a difficulty arises local committee member/members can always be co-opted for this. There are some government mandated committees and forums these also should be dissolved. It is likely that the governor may be on this committee and that I suppose should be OK, infact welcome.

5 We have to be proactive concerning certain archeological assets viz : Martand temple, Sharda Devi temple across the Line of Contol, Awantipora Sun Temple ruins, Parihaspora and few others like the Naran nag temple and the ruins. They are both historical sites as well as have a religious significance. We have to take interest in the preservation of these sites which otherwise may become nonexistent soon! Pressure on the land is simply unprecedented today. And then the monster of vandalism!!

6 The properties which have gone out of our hands can hardly be retrieved. This much could have been salvaged but our carelessness and in some cases at least shear necessity did not allow that to happen. In any case we need not fret and fume over something we cannot help. Yes, there are still some properties left. Could we have a community approach for them without in any way diminishing their value for the owner? There are a lot of well meaning people in the community who have some action plans .They could come forward with their proposals.

7 As I said before, Kashmir is the land of our ancestors, our temples and our Gods. Therein lies our spiritual soul , an inner connectivity .But alas maej Kasheer is not the same . She has been vandalized to a large extant. To- day its once famous beauty , its soul stirring music of the gushing streams , its life giving spring breeze and the soothing flow of Vitasta and much more -- all is in peril -- out of sheer neglect and insentivity. Majority of us are not there but should we too be insentive. Maej kasheer will not like our insentivity especially when she is in distress ! We could write letters to the editor , protest with the environmentalists , remind the Govt. and do more .Our inalienable claim to return becomes that much more moral and satisfying.

8 We are supposed to be an educated community with a large intellectual class. But we do not have a university, a first rate superspeciality hospital or a research center of our own. So far it could be excused but not anymore. The leadership/ coordinators must take cognizance of this matter. Some beginnings have been made in this direction, but to my mind, are only half hearted because in such matters all the hon’ble members of the community must be involved. This is doable. Our social scientists have not yet produced a scientifically studied paper on the causes of exodus ,its detailed social impacts and many other social and cultural issues which have impacted our lives. It is high time that we sit down and take notice of such matters now. At one time we nearly had a monopoly of legal luminaries in the country, there must be quite a few today also. They have to be involved. We have to fight legal battles with our oppressors and I can assure you that though the legal system in the country is sloppy it ultimately works--- works for those who are perseverant and tenacious. We have yet not used our option of a PIL petition. The great neglect and the oppression that we feel in our daily lives could somewhat be mitigated by this. Yes the efforts involved are stupendous. Infact our problems come from the fact of our being a small minority. Legal protection and some legislative provisions are our only proper strengths and positives in a democratic setup.

9 Finally, what kind of politics can we be effective in. For the time being we should try our best to support all efforts for good Governance and rule of law. Therein lies our safety and also the prospects of our progress .We have always suffered when there has been anarchy and bad Governance. Plot a curve of bad Governance and anarchy against our plight in these sixty years and you will find that more the anarchy and bad Governance worse off we have been.It reached its nadir in ’89 and see what a catastrophy occurred . Broadly we must be in all the mainstream political organizations (depending upon our propensities) and vigorously be participative in the affairs of the party. The numbers are not in our favour but this is the best option for us. As overall things evolve our strategies may change. In a basic way our faith in secularism and democracy must stay and strengthen. That is the future of mankind and surely it gels with our thinking and ethos. I am sure no other system can prevail in India or even elsewhere. The system is the only way small cohesive groups can survive. Democracy is an evolving concept and today’s democracy in India is somewhat skewed and constantly needs an update. In that our stakes are high.

The various political/social organizations that sprung amongst us have done their good job in their own way. They kept our hopes and dreams alive and surely that has not been a mean achievement. The vibrancy and the dynamism in the community is largely due to their efforts. They need to ponder over their achievements and failures and if need be do a small course correction. “Yes we can” and “we will prevail” may happen and be true but these will need well thought out strategies commensurate with our capabilities and the possibilities on the ground. The era of emotionalism is over for us now.

This two part article has nothing new. But I have tried to enumerate and emphasize the various issues and problems we have and these have been discussed by eminent members of our biradri from time to time. What, however, is new is that I have given you our perspective from the valley.

Many of the points I have discussed above can be tackled at the individual level and in future we could have a lesser reason to blame our leadership who in spite of having done things correctly many times are blamed by us !b

I have deliberately not touched the problems of employment, admissions and education. Community leaders have done a commendable job in this regard and individually people have done much better than before. A collective action with regard to those who are somewhat left behind is needed and that should form the full subject matter of a full scale discussion and action plan. And yes, what about the valley youth in this regard?

* Dr. S.N.Dhar is a renowned physician and has been practicing medicine in Srinagar for nearly five decades now. He retired as a Professor of Medicine at Medical College Srinagar where he was instrumental in setting up the department of chest diseases. Dr. Dhar is a well known academician and has published in national and international journals besides various book chapters on chest diseases. As a World Health Organization fellow, he has lectured at various medical institutions in USA .

These days he is actively involved in Human Resource development and is the spirit behind the establishment of Pundit Parmanand Research Institute involved in research in Kashmiri heritage. He has set up the love Kashmir society .
He has been a avid sportsman, a trekking enthusiast, and has traveled widely. He is the author of 83 days and resides in RajBagh, Srinagar, Kashmir.
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